10/10/2012

The Right To Stab A Burglar

Chris GraylingThe Tory Party conference is on and Chris Grayling has been getting a lot of the headlines. He's talking tough, saying "Two strikes and it's jail for life", which would really ruin the sport of ten pin bowling.

There has also been a lot of talk about a home-owners right to defend their home. And I assume that includes people who rent too, or they'll have to call up their landlord to get him to come round to stab their burglar.

The standard stand-up position on this is to say it's bad, but I don't like to have the same opinion as everyone else. Besides the number of cases that this would apply to is so small (7 in the period 1990 and 2005), so if you want make up some laws you can go for it. I don't mind the right to physically attack burglars, it just makes me think, "How can I get Jedward to burgle me?"

People say, "What if that man was stealing to feed his family?" Well, that's the point of the welfare state. We pay tax so people don't have to steal from us to get food. It would be nice if Jimmy Carr chipped in more, but that doesn't mean I should just let people have a go in my fridge.

Chris Grayling said he is changing the law on self-defence at home, so that it's only a crime if the home-owner uses "grossly disproportionate" levels of force. That means that "disproportionate" levels are perfectly legal.

Wouldn't it be better to say "proportionate" things are legal? Even if it means we class some more Chuck Norris-style bits of self-defence as "proportionate", I think it's best we don't let "disproportionate" become an acceptable phrase.

Police: Have you been drinking, sir?
Man: Yesh, ocifer, but only disproportionate amount.

So, what is a "grossly disproportionate" thing to do to a burglar? Well, according to David Cameron it's OK to knock out a burglar, it's OK to stab a burglar, but it would be "grossly disproportionate" to stab a burglar who is already knocked out. Well, yeah. Who'd want to do that? Not even Liam Neeson in the film Taken goes round being that much of a nasty piece of work.

You don't need to stab a burglar after you have knocked them unconscious, unless you're also cooking them and you want to see if they're done.

Mr Cameron also revealed that he had himself been the victim of several break-ins, including an incident in which the intruder also stole his car keys and used his Skoda to take away the spoils.

I have to say, if you rob the millionaire David Cameron and get away with a Skoda car, maybe burglary isn't for you.

>Read the source story
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